RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Bluegrass musicians and fans have flocked to the Triangle for the weekend, where both local and international music festivals are taking place.
If you put together a lover of all things 70s rock ‘n roll, a classically trained violinist, a blues and jazz musician, and topped it off with a mean playing machine on the bass, then you get Swift Creek, a nationally-acclaimed Bluegrass band from right here in Raleigh.
“We have a great time every time we play whether there’s a big audience for it or not, so it’s generally a lot of fun,” said Stephen Fraleigh, the fiddle and banjo player, who also lends his vocals to the group.
Bluegrass dates back to the 1940s.
It’s a mix of just about everything from country to Celtic to African music and it uses only string instruments.
Since 2013, Raleigh has hosted the International Bluegrass Music Association (IBMA) for its world conference and festival; however, true bluegrass lovers know the Tar Heel state has always been woven into the fabric of the genre.
“You know, it’s not surprising. There is a lot of great bluegrass music here and the culture of the mountains,” said Casey Elder, who sings and plays the mandolin and Dobro. “North Carolina is a great place to have this sort of gathering.”
Swift Creek came together for the Live and Local Bluegrass Festival on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh and will make a return to the IBMA Festival Stage this week.
The band said they’re bringing some inspiration from last year’s festival, which was rained out by Hurricane Joaquin.
“People were tweeting out that there was a bluegrass hurricane and I said, ‘Somebody’s going to write a song about that’ and then I thought, ‘Why not me?’” said Kevin Brown, a songwriter and guitarist for the band who also sings with the group.
Brown ended up writing the song, which ended up on the band’s second album, “Magnolia.”
The band plans to perform it at both festivals.